Posting in Public


Today TaxMama® hears from various people in the TaxQuips Forum, with a variety of questions about illegal activities or very private information.

Ask TaxMama

Dear Family,

TaxMama.com is a public website. We set it to require a log-in in order to help us identify those who use it – and to, hopefully, discourage scammers from accessing the information and using it against you.  When I do see posts that are excessively sensitive or private, I do my best to change your display name to only a first name and last initial. And to remove your SSNs, visible email addresses and phone numbers.

But folks, this IS a public website. And there are other places, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., where you post. Please, please, please be careful about what you post.

Just yesterday, two people posted information about illegal activities. Don’t do things like that. If you or anyone you know has done something you know (or fear) is illegal – talk to an attorney. Never post it in a public venue of any kind.

With a private consultation with an EA or CPA, you have a similar privilege for tax planning – but not for criminal activities. With an attorney, you have attorney-client privilege on all conversations, including many related to criminal activities. Please, DO work with an attorney when you need to undo something you know is a problem.

Even if you DO need a tax professional, you must start with the attorney first; then have the attorney engage the tax pro of your choice to help you – under the attorney’s privileged information umbrella.

Folks, remember, things that you post in public places are apt to be there forever – when you’re job hunting, when you’re seeking credit, when you’re up for promotions or government contracts – or when you’re audited.

Be smart. Don’t post your entire life out there for the public to see.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about privacy, and other tax and business issues, free. Where? Where else? At www.TaxMama.com.

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